Morning Brief: Highlights from Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Warren Buffett (L), CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, and Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire are seen on a screen at the company’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 5, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Warren Buffett (L), CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, and Charlie Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire are seen on a screen at the company’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S., May 5, 2018. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) held its annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday. The meeting attracted about 42,000 investors, both young and old, seeking wisdom from the investing legends.

Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions about investing, cybersecurity, health care, trade policy, Wells Fargo, cryptocurrency, real estate and firearms, among other things.

Here are our highlights:

Here’s why Warren Buffett is sticking with Wells Fargo: Buffett referenced previous investments he’d made in American Express (AXP), Geico and Salomon Brothers as companies that had made big mistakes but worked hard to turn things around. “I see no reason why Wells Fargo (WFC) as a company … going forward is in any way inferior to other big banks in which it competes.” [Yahoo Finance]

Warren Buffett proves why investing in stocks beats gold: Over the course of his lifetime, Buffett said, he’s seen why investing in the U.S. economy is a much better bet than gold. [Yahoo Finance]

Why bitcoin is ‘rat poison’ to Buffett, ‘turd’ to Munger: It’s no secret that Warren Buffett is not a fan of cryptocurrency like bitcoin (BTC-USD), which he calls “probably rat poison squared.” But the real reason? He just doesn’t like gold. A long-time value investor, Buffett compares cryptocurrency to gold, which he sees as a nonproductive asset. [Yahoo Finance]

Warren Buffett: Trade with China is a ‘win-win situation: Buffett offered his take on the ongoing trade negotiation between the world’s two largest economies. [Yahoo Finance]

Buffett on investing in NRA-affiliated companies: When posed with a question about investing in companies that support controversial organizations such as the NRA, Big Tobacco and other politically-charged entities, Buffett took a very clear stance on his belief that one’s personal beliefs do not necessarily need to correlate with that of the company which they represent. [AOL]

Buffett to Musk: ‘There are some pretty good moats around: Elon Musk recently took aim at the idea a successful business needs a “moat” — a competitive advantage that keeps rivals at bay. The pace of innovation, he said, is more important in the long run. On Saturday, Warren Buffett and his business partner, Charles Munger, shot back. [Bloomberg]

Berkshire-Amazon-JPMorgan health care initiative to have a CEO soon: Warren Buffett said during the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Saturday that the company was “making a lot of progress” and would likely have a CEO in place “within a couple of months.” [Yahoo Finance]

Munger says single-payer health care will come when Democrats take control: If the U.S. turned toward a single-payer system it would mean that the government would provide health care for citizens rather than them buying individual insurance plans through private companies as they do now. That would likely leave many health insurance companies as well as pharmacy benefit managers out in the cold, a fate Charlie Munger seemed less than heartbroken to see. [Yahoo Finance]

Buffett: We will continue to buy more real estate brokers: Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) wants to help you buy your first or new home via its Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Berkshire only does about 3% of the nation’s total residential real estate transactions. Buffett said he would like the company to eventually do 10% of the residential real estate business in the country. [Yahoo Finance]

Warren Buffett: ‘Cyber is uncharted territory and it’s going to get worse, not better’: Buffett warned that there’s about a 2% risk of a $400 billion disaster occurring as a result of a cyber attack of other issue. [Yahoo Finance]

Why Buffett will never invest in Microsoft: Warren Buffett said it’s hard to conduct business with friends without people assuming there is information being passed around under the table. He talked about the dangers and potential implications of teaming up with Microsoft (MSFT) founder Bill Gates, especially with how it could possibly be perceived in the media and amongst other companies. [AOL]

For more coverage on the 2018 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Meeting , go here

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